“I am a twenty-eight year old girl from Co. Louth. I am happy to be a part of the family of Cenacolo. I entered in Community two years ago in Italy because of my drug problem.
As a child I was timid and shy and had many fears of being different from the others. As the years passed, the shyness and closure grew and the fears to the world. Many times I felt powerless in the situations that were happening in my life and instead of facing them, I started to escape.
At the age of fifteen, I started smoking hash and taking other light drugs, then one day arrived Heroin. With the drug I was overcoming my fears, filling the emptiness, numbing my sufferance and escaping from reality. Slowly, slowly I was becoming blind, falling deeper and deeper into the world of darkness, sadness, dishonesty and losing the will to live. I was desperate.
Then a priest that I know helped me to get in contact with Cenacolo. I attended some meetings and with the help and support of the persons beside me I overcame my difficulties and entered. Today, I can honestly say that it was the best decision I have ever made. It hasn’t been easy but with the help of the others, I am getting to know myself as the person I was created to be. Thanks be to God, he is helping open my heart every day and I feel the forgiveness and love of him through my sisters and, most importantly, feel accepted for whom I am.
The prayer, true friendship, love and respect for one another and many other simple values is what the Lord is offering me today and I am happy to choose them. The Community has helped me, not only to see my shortcomings and poverties, but also to discover many beautiful gifts I have inside to share them with others and as the time is passing I feel more peace, joy, happiness and when the difficult moments arrive I don’t feel alone because with the strength and will of the Lord, he is helping me carry my cross forward and to be more mature. He is healing the wounds inside me. I am finding my happiness in giving to the others.
Now I’m in the house in Medjugorje and I know in my heart more miracles wait for me here. I give thanks every day for the presence of Mother Elvira in my life for her courage and love for us.
I want to thank my mam for the life she gave me, for never losing hope. The greatest thanks goes to the Lord who saved me and gave me the possibility to start living again with faith and many good desires in my heart.”
“I am twenty-one years old and from Dublin. I want to highlight how much Cenacolo has done for my brother and the whole family as a unit.
There’s a lot I remember from my childhood. In many senses my childhood was abundant. My mother and father always provided a loving atmosphere. We were well looked after and were taught right from wrong. However, once the plague of drug addiction crept in, we all suffered.
I was nine the first time I stepped inside a prison. My mother took me to visit my brother. I remember being confused as to how to take the police. At school we were shown the image of the heroic policeman who was a protector of our community, while at home they were the men who barged through our house shouting and taking our brother away.
I remember too, the long journeys down to visit him in Cork prison. Even though my brother’s big greeting smile hid a lot, it couldn’t hide how lost he was underneath. When he came out of prison he could no longer hide his addiction. I remember my mother trying to talk to him and get him to attend the Cenacolo meetings. He would agree to go but I don’t think he had any real intentions of entering.
The day he did finally enter I didn’t believe he had really gone and kept expecting him to knock at the door! Eleven months after my brother left Ireland my Mam and I went to Italy for the festival. I can’t say what I was expecting, an average treatment centre, I suppose. What I found was far from this. It literally blew me away and all I could describe it as was amazing! It was emotional seeing my brother for the first time in as long as I could remember so full of life. It was probably the first time I saw my brother genuinely happy and he was so healthy. I was so happy to see how much Cenacolo had done for him.
It has given us back the brother we knew before drugs. Cenacolo has given us back the big brother we look up to and are proud of. Cenacolo saved his life and has brought us all closer as a family unit. I feel that the Community has reassured me in my faith and given me stronger trust in God. I am so grateful for everything this journey has given me and my family.”